Another budget from our perpetual bridesmaid: The Treasurer has evidently tried very hard to be all things to all people, and seems to have done a reasonable job of appearing to do just that. Significantly initiatives have been announced in relation to education and climate change, no doubt to counter the Rudd Opposition’s strong running on these issues in recent months. Of course, there were some more income tax cuts, but even Shadow Treasurer Wayne Swan seemed compelled to concede that the cuts were unlikely to in themselves push inflation, and interest rates, up. — Polemica

Budgetitis: It strikes me that raising thresholds is a good thing, and he’s dipped his toe into the water on vouchers and teachers’ performance pay… but my there’s a lot of pork, too. And is it enough to save Howard’s bacon come election-time? — Catallaxy

The budget that brings home the median voter? Sometimes political science can feel a bit removed from the reality of politics. But in election years, it’s good to be reminded that the median voter theorem really does hold. The further behind a government thinks it is, the more it is likely to present policies that are very similar to those of its opponents. Was there anything in tonight’s budget that you would have been flabbergasted to hear come from the mouth of a Labor Treasurer? I can’t think of much. — Andrew Leigh

Swan can’t land a punch: All I can say is that the Budget was either Peter Costello’s political master stoke or Wayne Swan is fathoms out of his depth. Which ever way that assessment runs, Swan appeared unable to land a punch in tonight’s Budget postmortem on the ABC. His only line of attack was to accuse the government of stealing Labor’s good ideas, and some mindless mantra about failing the future test. — Oz Politics blog

Tax cuts — the right kind: If someone told me they were going to forego some money cutting tax and asked me for some tips these are some tips I would have given them…it’s nice to see good politics and good policy can sometimes make for such a good fit.– Club Troppo

Some perestroika in higher education: On Monday in The AFR I was calling (again) for a more market-driven higher education system. In the Budget tonight the government is taking some very messy first steps in that direction.   — Andrew Norton

Budget Bliss! Core Promises Galore! Boy, was I ever wrong about those Howard Liberals! Just imagine, a $5 billion fund for universities! Sure, the universities will still be full of foreign students, and ordinary Aussie kids will still work at McDonalds because they can’t afford the fees. But at least those delicately chiselled stucco sandstone facades won’t be crumbling! — Howard Death Watch

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey